iOS update frozen on iPhone and iPad? Here's the fix!

iOS has a lot of great features but in order to enjoy them you need to update. If your iPhone or iPad won't finish downloading, gets stuck while installing, or won't turn back on after it's turned off, don't worry. There are several things you can try to get it going again!

1. Hard reset

Resetting is a cliche because it works. Sometimes bits get stuck and there's nothing like hitting reset to get them going again.

  1. Press and hold down both the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button at the same time.
  2. Keep them held down until you see an Apple logo.
  3. Let go.

Once your iPhone or iPad has rebooted, wait and see. If it finishes updating, you're good. If not, or if it won't reboot, go on to the next step.

2. Plug into a wall outlet

This sounds silly but it's worked for some people: plug in. It's possible that, during the install process, your iPhone or iPad dipped below a critical power level and that's why it's gotten finicky. Find an outlet or USB port, plug in, and wait 10-15 minutes. Then, see if it resumes and try a hard reset to make sure.

If it goes back to working, great. If not, keep reading!

3. Restore in iTunes

If you've been backing up the way you should, you can restore your iPhone or iPad in iTunes. First try doing it the normal way and, if that doesn't work, go for recovery or DFU mode.

You'll need to restore from an iTunes or iCloud backup to get all your content back onto your iPhone or iPad, but once done, you'll be good to go. If even that doesn't work, you have one more things to try...

4. Go to Apple

Sometimes hardware or software picks update time to fail. If that's the case and you live close to an Apple retail store (opens in new tab). If you don't live close to an Apple Store, give 1-800-MY-APPLE a call instead.

Your tips?

If you've found another way to get your update working, let me know in the comments. If one of these methods worked, let me know that too!

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • Apple need to realize that there's a significant percentage of iPhone users who don't even bother with desktop computing anymore. Restore-with-iTunes is a cop-out method that has no place in 2015.
  • Totally agree with Moodyz...
  • I'm having problems with my ipad air 2 tried doing the update last night the ipad went off and will not power back up
  • My iphone has frozen whilst updating all I have is the white screen with black apple logo and updating bar
  • I'm having the same problem. I've tried every single charge source. Even hooked it up to my iMac which prompted me to download/update recovery to no avail.
    Then said iPad is not responding to host (iMac) and it's forever stuck with the bar one quarter full. Even after draining the battery and plugging it in I'm back at black screen w white Apple Logo or the bar. :(
  • That's just what mine's doing! Only mine's a 5se; all I did when it wasn't responding to the wifi was shut it off, then tried to turn it back on. It just showed me an image of the end of my iphone cord I plug into my phone with an arrow pointing up to the itunes logo. I found out I had to update my ios through my computer while connected to itunes, so I let it do that for well over an hour, almost two, and it was nearly done updating, but then I had to leave the house for a while, so I unplugged it from my computer and took it with me. When I had gotten back, I plugged it back in and it looked like it was gonna resume, but then showed the white screen with the Apple logo and the update bar. I waited until I went to bed a few hours later, and it was STILL stuck on that screen. After I woke up this morning and got ready for the day, several hours later, it was STILL stuck on the same screen with absolutely NO update progress... Dunno what to do now! DX
  • same thing
  • My iPhone4s is frozen ever since I tried to update to 9.1. Holding down home and sleep/wake buttons, connecting to iTunes etc has not worked. What should I do?
  • My sister had this IPhone 3G, gqave it to me after deactivating it. I was trying to activate it and it froze. But on the screen where it says Itunes with a plug pointing at it. What can I do?
  • Got the same prob! How did u solve it?
  • I have an iphone 6s on ios 9.2.1 and my phone has started freezing up. I found a way to unfreeze it without restoring. I simply tried calling my iphone and not only did it ring but it unfroze the phone. It has not froze up again since doing that. (I'm keeping my fingers crossed anyway.)
  • Hey Guys, this may sound silly, but I had similar freezing/rebooting issues on my 6+. Apple suggested I wipe without a restore - last resort, but it worked. Considering this was the image I used since my 3GS... I can understand if it had some bad data in the restoration files.
  • i was updating my phone and my phone had 3% battery and was connected to charger but after turned off for updating , it got shut down and gave me alarm for plug in to itunes , after that i connected to itunes and itunes couldnt update it , i download latest iOs that i had for turning back it to last position but itunes gave me error and told me i should restore it , and i cant do it cus it' has been 20 weeks that i ddnt took any backup of my phone , is there any way for taking back my iphone to the last version without restoring or do not losing datas on it?
  • Hi there i just purchased an ipad3g for my Autistic son. Ive never had one with a sim and was factory reset to ios5 what does this mean as far as usage and is there a fix PLEASE.
  • I got iPhone 5S, and update it's stuck, but after 50 minutes the all prossece complite, I sudgest let finish the job and Waite 70 minutes at least before doing something